Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Post Jamboree Recovery

I am in that between time. Betwixt and Between as my mother used to say. It's kind of an emotional combination of let down and rev up. I am recovering from one conference (Jamboree) and getting ready for the next one. (FGS)

While it is good to be home and sleep in my own bed. I miss the excitement that always surrounds conferences. The brain overload from endless classes and the fellowship of those who share our addiction.
I've barely unpacked, the laundry caught up and the suitcases put away but I can't hardly wait for it to start all over.

On the other hand. I'm bushed. I have tons of learning I want to put into practice and I need to catch up on household chores. Not to mention my research and the research for my clients that needs to get done. I have e-mails to catch up on, blogs to read, books to cruise, microfilms to order and view, lectures to produce and articles to write. Whew! Oh and I have to get all of it done before I leave again in September.

Not to mention my "other" life. I have friends, family and animals that all need to hear from me at least a little bit.

Now September may seem like it's a long way off, but my calender is so packed with "to do" items that I'm not sure my husband and I will find the same three days off to take a little vacation.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The GeneaQuilters SCGS Jamboree Quilt

The Quilt Gets Hung
There is so much to do at the Southern California Genealogical Society's Genealogy Jamboree. In addition to classes by world class teachers, and shopping for wonderful tools to use in your research; there are raffle tickets for fab give aways, like books, and videos and other wonderful prizes. This year the GeneaQuilters took on the challenge to produce a quilt that could be raffled off to benefit the Southern California Genealogical Society's Scholarship fund.

The quilt turned out beautiful. I am so proud, I contributed two blocks to this quilt and I think they turned out great, if I do say so myself. There were many people who had a hand in making this quilt a reality. Go to the GeneaQuilters Face Book page to learn more about the putting together of this quilt.

The lucky winner will get not only the quilt, but a book with a picture of each quilt block along with the person who created it and the story behind the block.

I am informed that more than 100 tickets have been sold and it's only Saturday.

Didn't it turn out great

You'd better buy your tickets soon. This is a one of a kind quilt; and this picture does not do it justice. (But I feel it only fair to warn you...I'm going to win this quilt....I am going to win this quilt....I am going to win this quilt....(positive thinking)

GeneaBloggers Welcome Bag

GeneaBloggers really knows how to take care of their bloggers. Not only did we get our customary “blogger beads” (a strand of “Mardi Gras” beads that we wear to identify ourselves as bloggers) but each GeneaBlogger received a Welcome bag chock full of wonderful things.

We got a multi USB hub; a Google For Genealogists Webinar on CD from Thomas MacEntee; a WikiTree Tee-Shirt from; a couple of laminated “at a glance” sheets from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.; a Family Tree Builder genealogy software CD from My Heritage; in addition to pens; discount coupons and so much more…
I’m telling you about all the wonderfulness in the bags not to make you jealous, but to first of all, let you know how fantastic this group is, and secondly, to give a big THANK YOU to the vendors who supplied all the goodies. (Disclosure statement: I do not endorse any of these companies nor am I supported by any of these companies.)

Now the only problem is…do I keep all these goodies to myself or do I do a give-away here on my blog? I have to tell you I really am leaning towards being selfish and keeping all these wonderful things. But I haven’t given you guys anything in months…hummm…I’ll need to think on this a bit longer.

I’m thinking about running a contest to find a new name for my business. I was calling myself Heritage Hunters but it turns out that there is someone using that name. So even though that has been my business name for the last several years I need to change it (this time I’ll get it copyrighted or trademarked.) So maybe I’ll make up a goodie bag of my own for the winner of the NAME contest. I’ll use some of the things that were in this bag (if I can bear to part with anything) and add some other goodies. What do you guys think…anybody up for a contest?

First Day (Friday) at Jamboree

Last night, after a day of fascinating lectures (more on this below) I attended the live broadcast of the GeneaBloggers Radio Show. What a hoot. There were about 15 bloggers in attendance and many more listening in via their computers. (Technology still blows my mind) There is also a chat component going on during the broadcast. Thomas MacEntee did a masterful job of remaining focused even though there was a lot of crazy shenanigans going on around him.

This was followed by an ice cream social sponsored by Geni for the GeneaBloggers. My kind of event…did I mention I like to eat? There was your choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream and a huge variety of toppings. A couple of crazy bloggers danced the hula complete with grass skirts and Pete the Parrot even got in on the act. I think things started (started?) to get out of hand when Pete met Perkins the Penquin. Don’t remember if that was before or after Randy Seaver put a skirt on his head. (Remember folks this was ice cream, imagine what happens when they hit the bar!)

Patricia and Footnote Maven
Everyone screams for ice cream

Sheri Fenley

Who is that with a grass skirt on their head?

Susan Kitchens 

Not everything at Jamboree is crazy party type fun…we actually get in a little learning too. Overwhelmingly the favorite class today seemed to be “Prostitution in the Wild West” presented by Jana Sloan Broglin, CG. From what I hear it was very informative and well presented. I myself went to Warren Bittner’s class “Elusive Immigrants – European Case Studies in ‘Exhaustive Research.’” One of the other bloggers (Amy Coffin) used a wonderful phrase for Mr. Bittner calling him a “newly minted CG.” I loved that turn of phrase so I repeat it here along with my congratulations to Mr. Bittner. (Can’t remember which person tweeted that particular phrase…if it was you sing out and I will give you credit.) Great class, well presented. This was a BCG skill building class and I learned a little bit more about what constitutes an “exhaustive search.”

GeneaBloggers Hard at work
Lisa Louise Cooke gave a superb presentation of what can be done with Google Earth. I purchased her two CDs (Google Earth for Genealogists) a couple of months ago and now I really must set aside a few hours to explore this wonderful resource. I know once I get it figured out I’m going to be working with it for hours and hours, it looks like it could be a lot of fun.

My last class of the day was with George Morgan. He took a subject that could have been fairly dry (Agricultural Census Schedules) and turned it into a very informative lecture with a few laughs thrown in. I now see how I can use these schedules to put flesh and muscle on my ancestors bones. By looking at the schedules and determining what the farmers in my family were growing and determining where they would take their goods to sell them, I can get a more accurate account of their day to day lives.

 Well, that was the first day of Jamboree and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Well, here it is the first official day of Southern California Genealogical Society's Genealogy Jamboree. It is off to a roaring start...The first lecture everyone is looking forward to attending is "Prostitution in the Wild West" presented by Jana Sloan Broglin, CG. While it looks like it might be a rippen good time I have elected to go the more sedate route and attend Warren Bittner's (another CG) "European Case Studies in 'Exhaustive Research' (For those who are unfamiliar: CG = Certified Genealogist)

Yesterday I volunteered at the Kids Camp. Wow, that was amazing. We had between 40 and 50 kids and about 20 - 25 parents. They participated in all kinds of great events from interviewing to being interviewed. (by Lisa Louise Cooke for her Podcast "Genealogy Gems") The kids also got to earn credits for their merit badges if they were Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. They made "journaling jars" and played Genealogy Bingo. I know I'll be volunteering again.

My friend Elyse Doerflinger is over the top excited. She is threatning to burst into confetti at any momemt. She is young. I'm too tired (read too old) to get THAT excited but I have to admit...I'm pretty jazzed. This conference, more than any of the others I attend, has that kind of affect. It is the most friendly, most energetic...I don't know what it is exactly, but I want more of it. It's almost as good as caffine.

Haven't made it into the vendor booth yet, and class is about to start. So I'll be tweeting about that a little later (blogging about those things tomorrow too.) For now let me tell you about the I Pad give away....

Susan Kitchens got a huge laugh when she gave away an "I Pad" it was a EYE PAD.  It's kind of a visual joke so you may have had to have been there....

And why aren't you?  Next Year...Promise yourself...Next Year.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Picture

I know I’ve made mention of “The Picture” before.  I’m talking about the picture my cousin gave me, you know the one, the one that made me cry. This is also the photo I used for the Geneabloggers cry to arms. (See post "I Am The Face of Genealogy" posted on 5 June 2011)

To refresh your memories this is a picture of my great grandmother, Felicie Romero and all of her siblings taken in 1890.

Felicie Romero aka Mrs. Henry Landry
(standing on left) and her siblings

What a gem, on so many levels. First off, of course, there is the fact that it was taken in 1890. 1890, that ominous year where there is no census to tell you the members of a family. But here it is. I have all her siblings, how great is that, and as you can see they are all of an age where any of them or maybe all of them are out of the house. So, without this photo I might not have ever been sure of how many siblings she had.
On another level this is the only picture I know of for Felicie, maybe the only picture for any of the Romero clan.

The family photos that so many people take for granted or cherish dearly were sadly lacking in my family photo albums. I have many 20th century photos of my immediate family, (my adopted family that raised me,my son and husband) but I have almost no photos of grandparents, great grand parents or older family members. No family reunion photos or civil war photos. (Deep sigh) No founding family members or first immigrants hang on my walls.

But with the gifting of this one photo there has been a shift. I now can be counted as one of the lucky ones who has a very old photo of an ancestor.

The photo is in pretty good shape, (as you can see) except for some disintegration at the edges and a tear down the middle. But I consulted a photographer at NGS who specializes in repair of damaged photos and he assures me (for a fee) the photo can be helped. The fee wasn’t as bad as I had thought it might be either, (less then $300) so I am going to send it off to him and let him work his magic.

I have a plan. Shhhhhh, don’t tell my cousins…but after I get the photo repaired I plan on making copies and sending the photo to all the cousins I know that are descended from this group. These are good Catholic families with lots of children for each family group for the last three generations. I don’t know all the descendents (yet) but a rough conservative estimate could be in the neighborhood of (let’s see, if 6 siblings each have 4 children how many children would be in the first generation?) Oh, my gosh….I could have more than 300 cousins who would want a copy of this photo. Maybe I want to rethink this plan. Ok, this is a limited offer…only cousins who have contacted me and can show me their relationship to anyone of the Romero clan (pictured) can have a copy. There that should bring the number down. But how fabulous would it be if I had more than 300 cousins from this one line contact me. The cost of copying the photo 300 times would be well worth it to me.

You know what else would be amazing about that. Felicie is not just my great grandmother, she is also my first cousin four times removed; her father was also the brother to my third great grandmother.
Let’s see if I can make that a little less confusing.

Antonio Romero married Marie Therese Segura sometime before 1804. They had at least three children, (I know of three because I am related to two of them) Sylvestre, Marie Rosalie, and Balthazar. Sylvestre married Marguerite “Irma” Dominque, and Marie Rosalie married Hubert Theriot. Sylvestre and Marguerite Irma had Felicie Romero (the grandmother pictured in the photo) and Marie Rosalie and Hubert had a daughter named Marguerite Orelia Theriot.

Marguerite Orelia’s line is one I have not done much work on but I know that she married Jean Therville Landry and that they had a son Henry Landry. Henry Landry married….wait for it…Felicie Romero his first cousin once removed.

So that is how Felicie ends up being my cousin and my grandmother.

So, I could potentially end up learning about the Theriot line too; all because of that one photo…you know, the one that made me cry.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spanish Lake

The story goes that Great Great Grandpa Romero lost his share of Spanish Lake and the property adjoining it in a card game. I don't doubt this story to be true (or was it Grandpa Segura, or Grandpa Landry....I'm a little fuzzy on the details.)

Do you have a family story that sounds interesting but you don't know for sure that it's true? Have you ever tried to find out? Some of your family might be delighted they have an outlaw in the family and embellish just a bit and others might be mortified and even though they know the truth of the matter won't breath a word of it. So we end up trying to reason out the "facts" of the story, based on history and other sources. Here's mine and it's a doozy. 

I'd like to be clearer as to who it was that lost the property and just which property it was. (Guess that's my research focus) That the land would be lost in a card game is not surprising. Apparently, according to family and accounts of horse racing in the area, gambling was a concept my family and many others were well acquainted with long before the casinos moved into Louisiana. 

If you've never been to South West Louisiana my ancestors helped settle the area, and I've been there several times, so let me tell you a little about it. The area is much the same as it has been for at least the last hundred years. Oh, some of the buildings are newer and new houses have replaced some of the older ones, but life still moves at a slow, friendly pace. The towns for the most part are still small and are more of "old town" or Mayberry kind of feel with a Bayou twist to it. While the new "town" area is more likely to be along the highway and aimed at not really serving the residents (with the exception of the warehouse hardware stores and Walmarts) but more like fast food places designed to catch the passer through. You can still drive for miles and see nothing but sugar cane fields and farm houses. One can drive from Iberia Parish through St. Martin Parish, and into Lafayette Parish with nothing to note the change except for a sign. (maybe)

There are no large race tracks like I am familiar with living in California (we have dog racing and horse racing both at Cal Expo and there are several large race tracks in the Bay Area) so when I discovered that horse racing was big in S. W. Louisiana prior to and after the civil war I was floored. Where were the tracks? Ok, I get that it's been 150 years, but there are still houses and remnants of burned plantation homes that date back that far; why, if there were several tracks in the area, is there no sign of them and very little mention? 

I don't have an answer to that yet. But I'm investigating. 

The story goes that Grandpa lost the farm (hence the term "betting the farm" ??) and the next day, mad as a wet hen, Grandma went and bought back the house so as to keep a roof over the heads of her babies. (You go Grandma!)

This is one of those family stories that I may never be able to prove or disprove. For any of my cousins reading this please, clear up any details you you remember which Grandpa it was??

According to the book "La Maison Duchamp" written by Amy Chatham in 2000, "Court records show that during these years (1876-1885) the Duchamp family seemed to have undergone some financial difficulties.  For example, in June of 1885 the Sheriff seized property owned by Eugene A. Duchamp, (my second great grandfather) property which included his house on Main street as well as a sugar plantation called LaMartiniere...."

Could it be that the story is really about Grandpa Duchamp and somehow just moved to Spanish Lake? 

Or could it be Grandpa Romero? (Sylvester Romero was another second great grandfather) According the the book, "New Iberia" compiled by Glenn R. Conrad, Grandpa Romero was one of the townsfolk who would follow a favorite horse to out of town events to see it race. " In early June, 1873, Bernard Suberbielle, L. Fontelieu, Theogene Viator, Martial Bonin, T. A. Babin, Louis Miguez, Derelle Romero, Sylvester Romero, and Lacroix Hebert travelled to Breaux Bridge to watch a challenge race between horses owned by Louis Delcambre, a New Iberian, and Emile Babin of Pont Breaux." (this bit of information was taken from the weekly newspaper Louisiana Sugar Bowl, May 1, 1873)

But it was Grandpa Segura who settled in the Spanish Lake area. (one of my fourth great grandfathers) Could it have been one of his descendants who lost the land?

Then there is Grandpa Landry (reportedly a "mean man") who I am told liked to gamble. Grandpa Theaux was also from the area, it could have been him the story was about as he was married a very strong woman.

About the area itself...that is almost as much a mystery. 

I'll tell more of the story of my Segura and Romero families and the settlement of this part of Louisiana in a later post. For now let me say that I can find a small amount of information on Spanish Lake during the time of its settlement but not much after that. (See below)

From the book "New Iberia" compiled by Glenn R. Conrad, "...most of the remaining MalagueƱo families moved away from the original area of settlement and secured tracts of virgin land, particularly in the area of Lake Flammand, which now came to be known as Spanish Lake."

That (and various versions of that kind) and the information below (found online) has been just about all I could find on Spanish Lake. I find this strange as it is a Louisiana Historical Site and the site of a fort. 

Where's all the information?

So I have a research problem that will take some untangling and a whole lot of work. Want to help? See what you can find out about Spanish Lake. Consider it this weeks challenge.

According to Wikipedia:

Spanish Lake (FrenchLac Espagnol) is located in the Bluff Swamp on the Iberville - Ascension Parish line. It is fed into by Alligator Bayou, Brand Bayou, Bayou Braud, and Bayou Paul. Spanish Lake is a part of the Bluff Swamp Wildlife Refuge and Botanical Gardens, a national non-profit organization which has preserved 901 acres (3.65 km2) of Bluff Swamp.

Spanish Lake, originally called Lake Flamand and then Lake Tasse, is located off of LA Hwy 182 in Iberia Parish and St. Martin Parish,Louisiana.

According to a 1936 Works Project paper
Spanish Lake had a population of 200 in 1936. (Figures can't be much higher now.)

According to Stopping
First known as Lake Flamand for Jean B. Grevenberg, one of the earliest settlers in this area; called Lake Tasse by the French because of its round cup shape, later known as Spanish Lake for the Seguras, Romeros, Villatoros and others who lived by its shores. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Am The Face of Genealogy

This is the Face of Genealogy 
My great grandmother Felice Romero and her siblings

Thomas M. asked the genealogical bloggers to post a "This is the Face of Genealogy" blog post as a call to arms. He along with many other bloggers have risen up in protest against a terrible photo that accompanied a story in the LA Weekly. His is the most eloquent rebuttal yet (and there have been many less eloquent ones) to the awful picture printed next to a story about the Jamboree in the LA Weekly. Although the online version of the LA Weekly no longer has this photo, the damage has been done.

Genealogists from far and near are in an uproar about this photo. Why, you ask? Here is Thomas' explanation, and I can't say it any better so I will re-post it here.

Please, if you or someone you know is a genealogist, be they amateur family historian or professional, please, do your part by following the link to the LA Weekly and let them know you find this unprofessional and offensive. At the very least it inferred that the work we do is laughable.
The following is from GeneaBloggers

Is this the face of genealogy? Is this truly what the public sees in their mind’s eye when they hear the word genealogy?

The Rub

In a recent event article at the LAWeekly website, the above photo was used in a brief article about the upcoming Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree being held in Burbank, California from June 10-12, 2011. I’ll be there as well as close to 70 other members of GeneaBloggers.
What I don’t know is whether there will be any new visitors to Jamboree this year, especially if they saw the LA Weekly article. My first thoughts are:
  • What were they thinking?
  • Did the author Skylaire Alfvegren actually select the photo or perhaps it was some smart-aleck editor? The way the text is written, with the byline Gene Genies, I think that this is more the work of an editor.
  • What were they thinking?
A quick search of the image on Google Images shows that the photo used is not even the original work of LAWeekly. This also reinforces my suspicion that a young, inexperienced editor who believes everything is free on the Internet just lifted the image from another site and slapped it on the copy.

What You Can Do

I urge readers of GeneaBloggers to send a letter to the editor of the LAWeekly using their online form at I don’t often make these “calls for action” but we as genealogists and family historians have a responsibility – especially to the younger people – to show them exactly what is the face of genealogy.

I Am The Face of Genealogy

Also, I’m asking that every genealogy blogger put up their favorite ancestor photo with the simple post title “This Is The Face of Genealogy.” Together, hopefully we can turn this offensive piece into a win situation for the genealogy community.

This too is the face of genealogy....remembering those who came before us and honoring our families.

This is also the "Face of Genealogy" a letter written by a grandmother I never got to meet. How I wish I could have known her. This letter and my genealogy research helps me learn who she was.

Please, we work very hard at what we do, we love what we do, and it means a lot to us. Help the LA Weekly understand why what they did is unforgivable. Not only did they potentially damage a wonderful event (the Southern California Genealogical Society's Genealogy Jamboree) but they smeared the name of "Genealogist."

Friday, June 3, 2011


Ok, for those of you who have been following me from the start or have gone back and read the posts I wrote earlier I have news.

For those of you who are new to my blog here's a short re-cap.


That being said I have been attempting (with many failures and quite a bit a comic relief along to way) to stumble into the 21st century. (Ok, I admit it, some of it hasn't been stumbling...some of it I have been dragged kicking and screaming into.)

I now can fake my way through Twitter, can Facebook with some assurance, I skype to some small degreee, and I can now (drum roll please) do a presentation on PowerPoint.

Right now I am visualizing most of you shaking your heads and/or raising your eyebrows...what? you ask...she didn't know how to use PowerPoint? Where has she been under a rock?

Not exactly...just in Galt, CA.

But I digress.

I had no need of it. I had quit teaching. I was not working as a lecturer/teacher in Genealogy, I was doing research. But about a month ago my local Family History Center asked me if I would teach a class, so I took a deep breath, and admitting nothing, said yes.

Let me tell you something. (For those of you on the same Non-Techie cruise ship I'm on) PowerPoint was a breeze to learn. I just had to get over my fear and preconceived notions that it would be hard. (That's always the hardest part anyway, right?)

One of my slides
Being the procrastinator that I am, and with everyone assuring me PowerPoint was easy, I put off doing the work until after I came home from NGS, which left me about 3 days to prepare. (I see those raised eyebrows again.) Yes, putting together an hour's presentation took me about 30 hours to prepare but not because the program was hard to learn. It took me 30 hours because it was FUN. I had fun picking out the pictures I wanted to use and the design of it. Although I knew what I was going to say in the lecture I still had to put it in order (think create an outline) so my slides would follow along with what I was saying. And I needed to find examples of the ideas I was trying to get across. At the completion I ended up with 41 slides. Wow, I didn't think I had that much to say.

The lecture went well, the only problem was when I got a notification that I was about to lose power. Luckily there were people present who are more tech savvy then me and they determined that the power cord was at fault and changed out the cord. (I would have panicked but thanks to my husband and one of the organizers I was able to just keep yapping away until I could move on to the next slide. Thanks guys.)

So I guess I really learned two to use PowerPoint and to always have a techie with me to fix the little glitches...glad I married one.